A New Way to Watch Over Them
I was impressed with the clarity of the picture and that there was no static coming through the receiver. As I placed the movement sensor under the mattress, I was careful not to leave any cable wires exposed as they were clearly a choking hazard . I sat my daughter on my lap and waited for 20 seconds to pass. The alarm went off as intended and it was a sound that reminded me of my days as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) on a volunteer ambulance squad. When that scanner went off in the middle of the night, it gets your heart racing.
The parental unit of the monitor flashed the words "Please check the baby!" I instantly hoped those were words I would never have to read again, short of testing the equipment. I questioned whether a home monitoring device could be useful in helping prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). I did a little research and discovered the following excerpt on the Babyzone website.
Because no one really knows what causes SIDS, numerous studies have tried to determine whether or not home monitoring may help prevent it. To date, there is no solid evidence that home monitoring products actually prevent SIDS. However, SIDS research is definitely helping narrow the focus of where scientists need to direct their attention in the future.
A 2001 study called the Collaborative Home Infant Monitoring Evaluation (CHIME), which was funded by the NICHD, suggests that episodes of prolonged cessation of breathing or prolonged slowing of heart rate in infants, believed to be potential indicators of risk of SIDS, primarily occur before the developmental age when most SIDS deaths occur. The findings, which appeared in the May 2, 2001, Journal of the American Medical Association, suggest that
these events are not necessarily signs of impending SIDS.
According to the NIHCD, breathing stoppage, called apnea, and slowed heart rate, called bradycardia, have long been observed in infants at increased risk for SIDS. Researchers have assumed that if such events can be detected, for example with a monitor/alarm system, they can also be interrupted, thereby preventing SIDS. The CHIME study, which used specially designed electronic monitors in the home to detect such cardiorespiratory events in infants, revealed this assumption might not be true.
In other words, these breathing events "might be markers of vulnerability, rather than immediate indicators of SIDS," says Dr. George Lister, study group chairman and one of the authors of the article that reported the CHIME findings. "The difference in when extreme events most commonly occur and when SIDS is most likely to occur suggests that these events are not immediate precursors to SIDS, as was once thought."
Despite the fact that home monitoring is not proven to help prevent SIDS, many parents still use home monitors. Above all, many say that the added factor of having an alarm sound when the baby's breathing is interrupted gives them peace of mind.
Having a video monitor can prove useful if your children are one side of house and you are on the other (a problem most New Yorkers do not have). As children get older, the talk-back feature on the device will enable parents to communicate with them when they are in another room.
Jill Starishevsky is a mother of three and a prosecutor of child abuse and sex crimes in New York City. In October 2006, Jill launched HowsMyNanny.com to support parents and their children. HowsMyNanny.com is the first online nanny reporting service that works to keep children safe by enabling parents to receive positive or negative feedback on their child's caregiver. Jill is also the author of "My Body Belongs to Me", a children's book intended to prevent child sexual abuse by teaching 3-8 year olds their bodies are private.